Strawberries are not commonly grown in Nigeria or some nearby countries not because its not popular but solely due to the fact that many farmers don’t know how to grow it or where to get the faster growing propagation materials like the seedlings and splits.
Strawberries is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. The fruit is widely appreciated for its unique characteristics ranging from the aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in such prepared foods as preserves, juice, pies, ice creams, milkshakes, and chocolates.
Artificial strawberry flavorings and aromas are also widely used in many products like lip gloss, candy, hand sanitizers, perfume, and many others.
Varieties of Strawberries
If you are targeting fresh consumption the varieties below are the best.
▪Selekta – this is the most popular variety producing long and wedge – shaped glossy red fruits.
▪Chandler-this produces firm strawberries with a distinctive strawberry aroma.
Soil Requirements for Strawberries
Strawberries require well-drained, sandy-loam to loamy soils with a PH levels between 5.0 and 5.5.
However, strawberries can be grown in more clayey soils if a sufficient quantity of compost is added to the soil during soil preparation.
Method of Propagation
◼Buy disease-resistant plants from a reputable strawberry farmer around you and they can grow both in open space and green house
◼Strawberries are sprawling plants. Mature plants will send out Runners, or ‘daughter’ plants, which in turn will send out their own runners. It means from just a plant you can get more many other seedlings over time
◼Make planting holes deep and wide enough to accommodate the entire root system without bending it. However, don’t plant too deep: The roots should be covered, but the crown should be right at the soil surface.
◼Strawberry plants require 6 hours a day of direct sunlight, so choose your planting site accordingly.
◼Planting site must be well-drained. Raised beds are a particularly good option for strawberry plants.
◼Practice crop rotation for the most success. Do not plant in a site that recently had strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant.
◼Establish new plants every after 1 year to keep berry quality high each season.
Management Practices of Strawberries
◼In the first 2months, pick off blossoms to discourage strawberry plants from fruiting. If not allowed to bear fruit, they will spend their food reserves on developing healthy roots. The yields will be much greater in the 3rd month.
◼Eliminate daughter plants as needed. First and second generations produce higher yields. Try to space each plant about 2ft apart.
◼Moisture is incredibly important due to shallow roots. Water adequately, about one inch per week. Strawberry plants need a lot of water when the runners and flowers are developing and again in the fall when the plants are mature.
◼Keep the beds mulched to reduce water needs and weed invasion.
Make sure the fruits don’t touch the soil ground to avoid pest attacks and damage.
◼Be diligent about weeding. Weed by hand, especially in the first months after planting.
◼Pick off the fruits with their stocks as soon as they turn red.
◼When you plant your seedlings, in 3 months you should have your first fruits and runners.
◼You can harvest up to 2years on the same plant.
Here you can choose to pack your strawberry fruits in nice packages and sell to super markets. Or you can approach juice making companies, yoghurt factories, ice cream and many others.
You can swell decide to add value to the fruits by making juice, jam and other products